I'm not a reader of magazines except when I go to my hairdresser, who always has a stash of Hello and OK pus the more upmarket Country Living, Vogue and Tatler types. This means that every six or seen weeks, I get to sit and scan the glossy pictures, though I rarely read the text - usually because my contacts are fine for distance but not too clever for small type a foot from my face. Anyway, I digress. Over the last decade it has slowly become obvious to me that more and more OK and Hello consider as celebrities people who are totally unknown to me. At first it was one person, then two, now it is more than 60 per cent unrecognised faces smiling up at me. It's a bit like Pointless and the pop music questions - I didn't know so many groups existed - it's rare to hear of one I recognise!
Should I be worried? I don't think so. The featured people all have a certain plastic look about them, in much the same way that American actresses all have a similar look, or the Italian beauties who feature in The Montalbano - young and old - series sometimes look as if they've come from the same extended family - every one has huge brown eyes, long, curling dark locks and voluptuous figures.
The photographs I see in the magazines these days are nearly always one of two types - either dyed blondes with untidy hair, who look as if they've just got out of bed and hit the streets without benefit of a shower, or blondes with perfect "American" hair - big, bouncy and curling over their shoulders. The latter young ladies all lounge provocatively on their expensive sofas or pose in a glamorous dress, one high-heeled foot carefully posed in front of the other to give the required shape and length of leg. Their lips look as if they would come off and never return if any man dared to kiss them.
I smile, and flick the pages, looking for someone I recognise. The young celebrities featured in these magazines don't tally with my concept of equality in today's world, somehow. Nor do their homes fulfil my nosiness about how other people live, because they are so extreme with their chandeliers and swimming pools. I prefer watching Escape to the Country where the houses are more like homes than film sets. What they are bringing home to me is the realisation that the generation gap has well and truly hit. Now I know how my parents felt when we modern young things did and said things they did not understand. It comes to us all - eventually, even the svelte young things in Hello and OK!